Residents at a Missouri affordable housing complex for low-income renters were ordered to remove Christmas decorations and other religious symbols from public areas.
According to a local Missouri newspaper, The Joplin Globe, a housing complex in Joplin called Mercy Village has ordered all residents to remove all Christmas decorations from public areas and from public view.
A spokeswoman for Mercy Village said, “Because of the way the Fair Housing rules work, any decorations have to be religion neutral (in shared spaces). So Mercy Housing, as most other property owners, does not allow religiously themed decorations in the common areas at any time of the year.”
Mercy Village representatives said they are only following the guidelines set forth by the Fair Housing Institute.
A resident of the complex, Linda Hopper, described the complex’s decision this way.
“It was like somebody brought in a vacuum cleaner and sucked the joy out.”
Linda Hopper said that the residents had decorated the second floor public area with a “Christmas tree with a star, candles, a Santa figurine and a Nativity scene.”
“It just felt very welcoming and festive,” Ms. Hopper said to the Joplin Globe. “We need places like that. We need to see beauty and peace; we need to have that tradition followed.”
Thankfully the residents are still allowed to decorate their personal units any way they want, it’s just the common areas and lobbies that can’t be festive.
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